"Each week Theo rewards small businesses that tweet him @TheoPaphitis and describe their business in one tweet including the all-important hashtag #SBS. Only tweets made in the time slot between 5.00 PM and 7.30 PM on Sundays count" (from www.theopaphitissbs.com)
We got our retweet from Theo on 7th November and our timeline went crazy! So many people had already seen this brilliant business idea too and it felt like everyone on Twitter was congratulating us!
|Our Facebook entry on November 8th|
We continued to follow the progress of Theo's SBS campaign and each Sunday another 6 lucky businesses were picked from the thousands of tweets. The campaign carried on growing and every Sunday buzzed with excitement for small businesses nationwide.
Fast forward to early 2012 and Theo sent a message out to all of the SBS winners...
I remember seeing the announcement...part of me was squealing with delight the other part of me remained sceptical. Would someone like Theo Paphitis really be true to his word and support small businesses at a special event? I have to be honest I thought we would all have to buy tickets and then we'd probably see Theo from a distance. He'd do a talk, thank us all for coming and that would be that.
How wrong I was!!
It's not often you get invited to events like this so we knew we had to be there!
Mr Kipperchops and myself arrived at Edgbaston Cricket ground on the Friday morning and I must admit there was a flutter of excitement in my stomach. It was great to have a day off and spend time doing something completely different with like-minded people. We weren't sure of the itinerary for the day but I think this only added to the excitement!
The room was full of small business owners (the other SBS winners) and everyone was busily chatting and laughing. We met up with some wonderful people - special mentions for our fellow Notonthehighstreet partners: Jo from 3 Blonde Bears, Kyleigh from Kyleigh's Papercuts (with her lovely framer Wendy) and Gabby from Moobaacluck.
All of the staff were so friendly and helpful and we were given badges when we registered at the desk. We were shown into a hospitality suite overlooking the cricket ground and were greeted with trays of beer, wine, orange juice and huge tables holding a vast array of tasty looking sandwiches.
|Kyleigh Scissorhands, Mrs Kipperchops, Mrs Moo and DottySpotty Becky|
We also met Tia from Who Ate My Crayons, Amy from Chambers & Beau (who had brought along her equally talented sister Kirsty from Kirsty Elson Designs), Helen from Kindred Rose, Liza from LizaJDesign, Lyndsey from Lyndsey James Photography and Charlie from Cherry Pie Lane.
|Helen (Kindred Rose) Lyndsey (Lyndsey James Photography) Kyleigh (Kyleigh's Papercuts|
We also finally got to meet the very smiley Becky (and her husband Jeff) from Dots and Spots! I have been tweeting with Becky from the beginning and we have watched each other's businesses grow - it was such a joy to meet her and she's as lovely as she seems online!
Next we were taken through to a conference room with a big screen at the front (we all had lots of fun seeing who could get their tweets on the screen while we waited for Theo to make an appearance!)
Then there he was...an actual Dragon in the room!
We had speeches from Kypros (CEO of Ryman's who had sponsored the whole event) and Chris Wheeler from Metal Frog who introduced us to the brilliant new website solely for SBS winners (Chris and his team have done a fantastic job and his speech left many of us teary-eyed!)
|Chris and The Metal Frog Studio team|
Theo then did a Question & Answer session for 2 and a half hours!!
|making a twit of myself!!|
We were completely blown away by Theo's genuine interest and enthusiasm for our small businesses. He gave us great advice and was such good fun - nothing seemed to be too much trouble. He had great banter with Kypros and the whole afternoon was so enjoyable...didn't want to go home!
Theo had one more surprise up his sleeve...not only were we all going to get an SBS certifcate we were all going to get an opportunity to have our photos taken with him too! We were totally taken aback - what a fabulous bloke Theo turned out to be...he had to stand and grin for an hour and a half and never once complained! There was even a FREE bar!! He chatted to everyone in turn and seemed genuinely happy to meet us all.
When our turn came around I sneaked a cheeky peck on he cheek to say thank you for such a brilliant day 'Ah Mrs Kipperchops!' he said 'You should go and meet Kypros...we call him Kypper too!'
So not one to miss an opportunity we rushed off to find Kypper, had a photo taken and thanked him for putting on an excellent event..I even kissed the financal manager, I got a bit carried away!!
|Kyp and Kipperchops!|
We met some more SBS winners before leaving for home..Jo from Red Herring Games along with HG Sherlock and his sidekick Dr Whiting and Sandrine from The Nautical Company. Other lovely tweeters included Jan from Perfect Verse For You, Fiona and daughter Amy from Sparrow Primitives, Sam from Funky Goddess, Susan from Dottie Designs and Ali from My Gorgeous Gifts. So many others I forget but you know who you are and it was wonderful to meet you!!
There are a couple of other very special people I have to mention...namely Shelly (aka Shellibobbins)one of the most positive, supportive, genuinely lovely people I have ever met and her beautiful brave little boy Noah. I welled up when I saw him snoozing peacefully in his pram when Mr Bobbins brought him upstairs to meet Theo. I gave Shelly a huge hug - I was delighted to finally meet her in person (My only regret was that we had to leave for home before I got to have cuddles with Noah...next time Shelly!)
We had a truly amazing day and even before we left at 6pm (it was supposed to finish at 4pm and Theo was still there and still chatting away!) we got yet another surprise...a goody bag from Ryman Stationery which included pens, notebooks, USB sticks ...so generous! I also managed another little chat with Theo to say thank you to him and to Ryman's for putting on the event and he gave me this...